Too much of a good thing?

Do we have too much stuff?

After spending the entire holiday break looking for places to store all the children's Christmas presents, I think it is time to think about the reality of consumerism and interior design. Do we need all this stuff or do retailers just make it sound so appealing that we have to have it?

Christmas gifts - where do we put them?
So many things to find new homes for - do we really need all this stuff?

Photo Credit - Chang Duong

My husband and I are both designers, we are also both aware of the fact that most homes designed today don't have enough storage, ours does, yet we still keep buying things and have to find places to store them. With the minimalist look of housing being so popular, where do you put all the useful things that you need, like the vacuum cleaner? I have visited a few new apartments lately and if you own more than 2 sets of towels and sheets, then you may have to store the rest on the bed as there is no room for linen or even a broom. Where do some of these designers or architects live? Hotels? Places where there is no need to clean your own room!
We have to get creative with our storage. I have purchased the plastic storage bags that you fill with clothes, winter coats, linen, excess blankets etc and then suck all the air out with a vacuum. This has made a bit of difference to our cupboards and wardrobes, but you still need to find somewhere to store them! Under the bed, if you have a slat bed or in the garage, already bursting at the seams with cars, bikes, pushchairs, chilly bins, skis, surfboards, fishing rods, lawnmowers, lawn trimmers, hedge trimmers, leftover paint, carpet, vinyl, tiles....get the picture?
The kitchen, our pantry has exploded into the garage storage cupboard, why, because we have sauces for every possible meat, vegetable or ethnic preference. Canned food in case of an emergency or natural disaster, drink flavors and breakfast cereals for every day of the week and ready-made packet recipes to throw together with ingredients and make a gourmet meal. Long gone is the pantry that needs flour, sugar, salt, and some butter, milk, and eggs in the fridge. You now need the "mega pantry" with all the pull out space saver spice racks, can stackers, vegetable drawers and the list goes on. Where does it stop? Do we really need all these little well designed "extras" in our kitchens or is it just another way for us to part with more money for the corporate companies?
The problem is it is very difficult to go back! Speaking from experience after a week at a camping ground. No dishwasher and two young children! Oh, how I missed my super silent and fantastically efficient get all the dishes out of sight and tell me when they are clean Bosch dishwasher! Instead, I had to put the dishes in a bucket, carry them to a large amenity block and hand wash and dry them with two children hanging off me! Then try and carry them back, along with dishcloth and soggy tea towel. I vaguely remember my Grandmother telling me about the good old days, were they? Life was simple, slower, husband and wife probably had time to talk and get to know each other whilst doing the dishes after dinner, rather than a quick text message which we all use now because it is quicker and you can do three or four things at once and you get an instant reply. Have we gone made with our time-saving devices? Has the art of conversation and relaxing gone out the door along with a good book, the video player and the walkman. Luckily for us designers, they are now making flat-screen TVs and computer screens, these take up less space in our homes and offices, unfortunately, they haven't designed a way to find the remote control or prise it out of your husband's hot hand! One day they will design dual remotes...won't that be fun, at least that would start up the art of conversation! They should really be integrated with cellphones as they never leave the hand of a teenager, and we would always be able to find one!
Do we have too much of a good thing and how far can it go?



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